The Fighting Illini have emerged as a top-10 program and a preseason favorite to win the Big Ten. You can primarily attribute those expectations to one guy. Since arriving in Champaign in 2018, Ayo Dosunmu was deemed the prodigal son, the long-awaited in-state recruit who would bring Illinois back to greatness.
As a sophomore, Dosunmu led the Illini in scoring and finished fifth in the Big Ten with 16.6 points per game. But Ayo ended the season with a flourish, averaging 19.7 points over the his final six games (the Illini won five of them). In the season finale against Iowa, Ayo finished with 17 points, eight assists & seven rebounds and sunk the game-winning shot in the waning seconds. He was getting revved up at the right time.
The Illini were unquestionably NCAA Tournament-bound before the coronavirus pandemic shut down last season. We as fans felt robbed. It was Illinois’ best season in years, and perhaps its best shot at a national championship since the days of Dee & Deron. But it maybe because of that unsatisfying finish that Ayo decided to return for his junior season.
Dosunmu came back because there’s more #UnfinishedBusiness.
His message was simple: he wants to deliver a national championship to Illinois.